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Why You Shouldn't Sign Up Kids For Summer Activities

Why I'm Not Signing Up My Kids For Any Summer Activities

Everywhere I go, moms are freaking out about Summer camp costs and deadlines.

"Did you sign so-and-so up for sports camp?" "Have you tried this camp?" "Is that camp worth the money?" "Oh no! This camp overlaps with that camp!" Not me! I'm ignoring all that chatter, as well as countless emails and Facebook posts about kids' Summer camps and activities, because I'm not signing up my children for a single thing this Summer.

There are plenty of reasons I'm saying no to another Summer of excess. With three children, I'm no stranger to writing check after check to pay someone else to keep my kids busy, and let me tell you, Mama is tired of shelling out thousands of dollars for swim lessons, day camps, and intensive gymnastics clinics. This Summer feels like a great opportunity to spend less money and more quality time with my kids.

Speaking of quality time, driving frantically from one activity to the next one does not qualify. I refuse to waste another Summer vacation behind the wheel of my car, dashing around town, depositing a kid at this camp, then another at that camp. I'm sorry, but setting my alarm to get my kiddos to camp isn't going to happen, not just so I can sleep in once in a while but because my kids need a break, too. After a full year of school, I can see they've had enough of early mornings. They look exhausted when they come home, often only to be rushed through a meal and ushered off to art class, Girl Scouts, or dance class.

This Summer, this family is going to take a break from scheduling overload. We are going to wake up when we wake up and see where the day takes us.
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This Summer, this family is going to take a break from scheduling overload. We are going to wake up when we wake up and see where the day takes us. The kids can play outside and just be kids. They can get bored and find ways to entertain themselves, old-school style. Maybe we will go on day trips, bake, rent movies, or go to the beach. I'll let the kids go to bed late and have sleepovers with friends. We'll have a lemonade stand, go out for ice cream, go on a bike ride. I'll give them chores and take them to the library. We'll do, well, whatever else we feel like doing.

I want to remember how quickly this time goes by, when children are young and still live at home. I say this now, but even if I get sick of the noise and bickering by then, I know when the first day of school rolls around, and I'm practically living in my car, a slave to my kids' conflicting schedules, drowning in fees and dues, and feeling like I never see them anymore, I will be so grateful we had a Summer of doing nothing but hanging out together.

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